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[NEWS ANALYSIS] Ergenekon, Balyoz cases would derail planned HSYK appointments

21 August 2010, Saturday /METIN ARSLAN
The Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) hoped to influence the course of the criminal cases against Ergenekon, a clandestine criminal organization accused of working to overthrow the government, and Balyoz (Sledgehammer), a suspected military plan to unseat the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government, through the appointment of judges and prosecutors included in the board’s yearly appointment list.

Earlier this week the HSYK moved to replace judges and prosecutors overseeing the Ergenekon and Balyoz investigations and trials as well as several others with an appointment list that it prepared. The Justice Ministry, however, did not agree and suspended deliberations over the controversial list for a while.

Among the judges and prosecutors who appeared in the list were İstanbul Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor Turan Çolakkadı; Zekeriya Öz, the top prosecutor in the Ergenekon case; Mehmet Ali Pekgüzel, Nihat Taşkın and Fikret Seçen, the three other prosecutors in the Ergenekon case; İdris Asan, a judge at the İstanbul 9th High Criminal Court; Ali Efendi Peksak, a judge at the İstanbul 10th High Criminal Court who accepted the indictment against the Balyoz suspects; Davut Bedir, a judge at the İstanbul 10th High Criminal Court; Metin Özçelik, a judge at the İstanbul 11th High Criminal Court who issued arrest warrants for some Ergenekon suspects; Mehmet Karababa, a judge at the İstanbul 12th High Criminal Court; Rüstem Eryılmaz, a judge at the İstanbul 14th High Criminal Court who ordered the arrest of Col. Dursun Çiçek -- who is accused of having drafted a coup plan titled the Action Plan to Fight Reactionaryism; Resul Çakır, a judge at the İstanbul 14th High Criminal Court who rejected an appeal against Çiçek’s arrest; Mustafa Karatay, a judge at the Erzurum 2nd High Criminal Court who accepted the indictments against 3rd Army Commander Gen. Saldıray Berk and Erzincan Chief Public Prosecutor İlhan Cihaner, who are accused of working to put into operation the Action Plan to Fight Reactionaryism; İsmail Şahin, a judge at the Erzurum 2nd High Criminal Court who arrested Cihaner; Sinan Kuş, the Erzurum chief public prosecutor; Tarık Gür, Osman Şanal, Rasim Karakullukçu and Mehmet Yazıcı, the prosecutors who carried out the investigation against Cihaner; and Durdu Kavak, the chief public prosecutor in Diyarbakır who investigated jailed Col. Cemal Temizöz, who has been implicated in the killings of hundreds of civilians by the gendarmerie in the 1990s in southeastern Turkey.

The HSYK hoped to replace these judges and prosecutors with their “own men.” Such a replacement would facilitate the release from prison of dozens of suspects who are accused of plotting the coup. Dozens of suspected Ergenekon members are currently in prison pending trial. Among these are members of the military, academia and the business world who are accused of membership in a terrorist organization and planning to topple the government.

The board attempted to remove judges and prosecutors conducting several criminal cases last year, too. Ali Suat Ertosun, an HSYK member, argued that judges and prosecutors involved in the Ergenekon case should be removed from their posts.

He also called for the removal of prosecutors conducting probes into the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) -- the urban arm of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) -- and Col. Temizöz. The Ministry of Justice strongly resisted the proposed reassignments, and the judges and prosecutors overseeing the cases remained in their positions.

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